Monday 29 June 2020

That’s a fowl: I finally got free Texas Chicken meal by pretending to be a Liverpool fan

Dear Texas Chicken Singapore,

I have a confession to make – I’m not a football fan.

But I’m a fan of free food.

Because I’m a fan of free food, I have pretended to be a football fan – specifically, a Liverpool fan.

It started last June after Liverpool won the Uefa Champions League after 14 years.

For some reason, even though Liverpool is not part of Singapore or vice versa, to celebrate the English football club’s European victory, several eateries in Singapore offered one menu item for free for one day to customers wearing a Liverpool jersey.

Even when our national team won big matches in the past, I don’t recall any restaurant offering free food.

Although that could just be because the last time Singapore won a big match was so long ago that I can’t remember.

What was more baffling was that one of the places offering free food to celebrate Liverpool’s win was Texas Chicken Singapore as Liverpool is nowhere near Texas or Singapore. We’re on three separate continents.

If you had offered a free meal when the Houston Astros won the World Series, sure, that would make sense since Houston is part of Texas, even though no one in Singapore cares about baseball.

But free food is free food and who was I to look at free fried chicken in the beak?

All I needed was a Liverpool jersey. The closest thing I got was a Liverpool T-shirt.

I had bought it together with a Manchester City shirt for $50 for both at Takashimaya for the sole purpose of trolling a colleague, who is a die-hard Reds fan.

Last year, Liverpool and City were in a close race for the English Premier League (EPL) title.

If Liverpool had won, I would wear the Liverpool shirt to annoy him because he knows I’m not really a Reds fan.

If Man City had won, I would wear the City shirt to rub it in.

It was win-win either way for me. The latter came true. Rub, rub.

But Reds fans could console themselves with the Champions League trophy – along with your free two-piece combo offer.

However, by the time my colleague and I reached the Texas Chicken outlet at Nex in our Liverpool apparel (him in an actual jersey), we were told the free combo had sold out.

How was that possible?

Apparently, there was a cap of 100 free combos per outlet, which wasn’t mentioned in the offer. Just “while stocks last”. I felt cheated.

I felt even more cheated a couple of hours later when you announced on Facebook that the 100 combo limit was lifted for the rest of the day.

So I was both too late and too early.

I was so upset that I complained on your Facebook page: “I went all the way to Nex at 6.50pm and was told only the first 100 customers get the free combo. And now you lift the cap. You cheat my feelings twice in one day.”

To my surprise, you actually replied to my comment and asked me to message you back.

A week later, I received a Texas Chicken $10 gift voucher in the mail. Woohoo! I haven’t thanked you for that.

Complaining on Facebook works. Former PAP candidate Ivan Lim knows what I’m talking about.

Then in a moment of weakness, I decided to give the $10 voucher to my colleague because he’s the true Liverpool fan. Also, I wanted to make up for trolling him.

So in the end, I didn’t get my free Texas Chicken meal.

That is, until last Friday.

Liverpool finally won the EPL title after 30 years.

You posted on Facebook: “Don your #LiverpoolFC jersey to any Texas Chicken outlet today – and receive a free 2-piece Chicken Combo meals (U.P. $8.80). Available for dine-in only from 11am till 9pm today or while stocks last.”

This time, I didn’t take any chances and showed up at your Star Vista outlet at 12.10pm in my mask and Liverpool T-shirt.

A guy in a Reds jersey was already in front of me ordering the free combo. Nice to know I wouldn’t be dining alone.

When it was my turn, the cashier saw my shirt and guessed what I wanted. All he asked was “Original or spicy?” and “Drink?”

Best of all, he charged me nothing.

I finally got my free Texas Chicken meal!

About six other guys in Liverpool tops were in the restaurant with me. I'm not sure if they were all wearing jerseys.

I was happy at first, but now I feel guilty after realising I got the free food under false pretences.

I’m a fraud.

The offer was meant for Liverpool fans and I’m not one. I just got the T-shirt (not even a jersey) – and for a rather nefarious reason.

I apologise to you and all true Reds fans.

There goes my chances of becoming a PAP candidate.

To clear my conscience and help me sleep at night, I would like to belatedly pay you $8.80 for the free spicy two-piece combo I didn’t deserve.

Please let me know how.

You have PayLah?

- Published in The New Paper, 29 June 2020

EARLIER: Getting free food with my Liverpool T-shirt

From readers:
Dear SM Ong,

I read your article in the New Paper dated 29June 2020. You are so honest and funny! The photo is also funny... You look guilty hahaha. I read it laughing so much. Thank you for your honestly and humor... And making my day brighter. Pls write more...

Best regards,

Hi the new paper and smong journalist

I enjoy reading the new paper but not from today onwards

What is the purpose of The New Paper and any ethics being a journalist ?

As I was reading today article, I was fill with rage 😤, what values are you communicating to your reader? Are you asking us the readers to follow your journalist to wear a PAP t shirt and vote for opposition?! We have enough of fake news and spam in this information era! With deception news like yours, the kids and adults will think is ok to pretend and get a free meal

I am diehard Liverpool fan, the YNWA has encouraged me to complete my cancer treatment. I only have a red t shirt, I understand the meaning t shirt is not a jersey (I haven’t own one because is $100 over dollars which I cannot afford) so I didn’t go for the free combo meal. Your act is annoying to me, worst thing is your Facebook complain, I praying there will be lesser singaporean like you to exist on earth! You paid your price of unable to sleep and guilt, for all you know, the God above may cause a drought of 30yrs for Manchester City, not sure will you live to see it, is really sad to read such an article on a Monday morning!!!

I am saddened an adult matured and responsible can do such an act to create a news to bring values to the next generations that is ok to cheat and have what you want! A Little act will not cause harm and going to jail...

I sincerely hope your editor and CEO of SPH can look into this! If not, I will do like the journalist share in social media to get attention! With power comes responsibility. Those who are in power has responsibilities and make singapore a better place

You all owe an apology especially to Texas Chicken who want to celebrate a happy moment with all the truthful fans but abused by some, who did without consciousness. Very Sad 😔

Thank you

Saturday 20 June 2020

Yes, Progress Singapore Party member Craig Teo is the guy from old 90s local sitcoms

So I chanced upon this on social media today:

I thought, hey, that guy looked familiar. Even the name Craig Teo sounded familiar

He looks like the guy who starred in local 90s sitcoms Happy Belly and Three Rooms.

So I googled him. It turns out he has his own SgWiki page: "Craig Teo, formerly known as Gregory Teo, is a Singaporean actor, presenter, and comedian."

It is him!

It appears that he is now a member of Dr Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party (PSP), showing up in the party's photos and hosting its videos.

Good for him.

Only a few years ago, he starred as local forensic legend, Professor Chao Tzee Cheng, in the Channel 5 docudrama series Whispers Of The Dead for two seasons.

By then, he was billed as Craig Teo. Back in the 90s, it was Gregory Teo, which is what I remember him as.

Too bad he is not in the first batch of potential PSP candidates for the upcoming General Elections recently announced.

It would be a shame if the party doesn't field him as a candidate.

After all, it seems that being a former cast member of Happy Belly gives you a pretty good chance of getting elected.

Monday 15 June 2020

Don't brush your teeth: My wife had dengue in the time of Covid & this is what it was like

It started with a fever.

Or at least we believed my wife had a fever.

To double-check, we used different thermometers, but each thermometer showed a different temperature. Stupid cheap thermometers.

I suggested that she go to our neighbourhood supermarket and get her temperature checked at the entrance. If she had a fever, they would tell her.

She said I was an idiot.

It’s never a good time to have a fever, but this is a particularly bad year to have a high temperature.

They won’t let you into the supermarket to enjoy the aircon, I mean, buy food and other essentials.

Since the circuit breaker started, my family have avoided going out unnecessarily, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t gone out at all. (Please don’t doxx us on the SG Covidiots Facebook page.)

Is it possible that my wife got the coronavirus?

But she hadn’t lost her sense of taste or smell, which is reportedly a symptom of Covid-19. She still enjoyed her teh-o and complained about my armpit odour.

Apart from the fever, she also had diarrhoea and started having rashes all over her body. The itch kept her up all night.

After two nights without sleep, she decided to see a doctor at our neighbourhood clinic.

The doctor said the rash was a “classic” sign of dengue and took my wife’s blood to send for a test to confirm.

He told her to drink lots of water and stop brushing her teeth to prevent bleeding. Just use mouthwash.

Who knew the first thing you have to sacrifice if you get dengue is proper oral hygiene?

The doctor also ominously warned that she would suffer “bone-crushing pain” – but sent her home with medication only for her diarrhoea and rash.

Even though he told her to take Panadol for the fever and pain, he didn’t actually prescribe her any.

When she asked him what the treatment for dengue was, he replied: “Time.”

That first doctor’s visit cost $123.05.

She didn’t even get an MC because she’s a housewife, I mean homemaker, I mean stay-at-home mum, whatever.

The doctor seemed rather cavalier about a disease that has already killed at least 12 in Singapore this year with more than 10,700 infected.

Sure, Covid-19 has more than double the fatalities, but this ain’t a competition. Or is it?

Later that day, my wife received a call from the clinic about the test results.

Near my block, there was a red dengue alert banner that said: “There are 10 or more dengue cases in your neighbourhood.”

Thanks to my wife, the figure would have to be updated.

While everyone was wearing a mask, she should have worn more mosquito repellent. At least unlike getting Covid-19, she wasn’t infectious and didn’t need to be quarantined.

My wife was told to return to the clinic the next day for another blood test.

The test results showed that her “numbers” were “low”, which was a bad thing, but not “low” enough for her to be hospitalised. She was just told to keep returning to the clinic for more blood tests.

In the end, she took a total of four blood tests and had the bruises on her arms to prove it. Each test after the first one cost $17.10.

The “bone-crushing pain” came as the doctor predicted. My wife felt like a different part of her body was being attacked each day.

One day, it was her arms. The next day, it was her back. Then it was her legs. Then only her feet. Then weirdly, behind her right eye.

I made her ham sandwiches to ease her suffering and she still did the laundry.

Because of the coronavirus, we were staying home most of the time anyway. So it’s not like her illness changed our lives that much.

Except, you know, for the “bone-crushing pain” part.

Actually, for her, the rash was worse. The pain could be managed with painkillers, but the relentless itch prevented her from getting much sleep.

I slept fine.

About a week after the first doctor’s visit, my wife appeared to have recovered.

No more fever. No more diarrhoea. No more rash. No more weird pain behind her right eye.

Her final test results showed that her numbers were back to normal.

As the doctor said: “Time.”

I read that last week, the number of new dengue cases in Singapore hit a new high, breaking the record of 891 cases set in 2014. (UPDATE: It hit 1,158 last week.)

I wonder if my wife contributed to the new record.

The figure on the dengue alert banner has been updated to 20. I guess my wife wasn’t the only new case in the neighbourhood.

She is just relieved to be allowed to brush her teeth again.

Yeah, me too.

- Published in The New Paper, 15 June 2020

From a reader:
I was diagnosed with dengue on 14/6/20. My entire episode was totally unexpected.

I had loss of appetite for a couple of days. It left me weak and feel tired all the time. On 14/6/20, I woke up feeling giddy, hence went to a nearby clinic. Temperature check was ok but blood pressure was extremely low. Doctor refer me to hospital to run further tests.

At the hospital, I was suddenly told I had very high fever at 38.8! They took my blood test and confirm I had dengue. However, I do not have any symptoms like rashes, body pain etc. My platelet count was reported at 84, a normal person should be 150. I am allergic to Panadol so just left me on a drip all day long. Anyway, I was still admitted for 2 days.

I can totally relate that time is the only cure for dengue since all this while no medication was given.


Monday 1 June 2020

Viral NUSWhispers post: 'Louis Vuitton is for poor people who want to look rich'

Dear Louis Vuitton,

I just Googled your name and found out that you were an actual person, unlike, say, Gioven Kelvin?

But you died more than a hundred years ago.

So I guess I'm writing to the company because that would make more sense than me writing to a dead person.

But if somehow in the spirit world, you can read this, feel free.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you, LV, is an NUSWhispers post that went viral last week and mentions you.

The anonymous post starts with:
“Sorry I just need to rant. Recently, my boyfriend bought me a Louis Vuitton wallet which costs around $700 for my birthday.”
You would think that the person would be grateful to receive a $700 birthday present with your brand name on it, but you would be wrong.

The post continues:
“When I saw the wallet, I felt really upset and disappointed.”
How could this be? How could anyone be upset and disappointed with a $700 Louis Vuitton wallet as a birthday present?

Maybe she is a thrifty person who is unhappy that the boyfriend spent so much money on her for her birthday as his love for her was all that mattered.

Wrong again.

The post continues:
“Because earlier this year, my sister's bf got her a Chanel wallet which costs at least $1,000 for her birthday.”
Okay, so here you might think that this person is just upset because her wallet is not as expensive as her sister’s wallet. The boyfriend should’ve just bought her a $1,000 (or more) Louis Vuitton wallet.

Wrong again.

The post continues:
“Chanel is so much nicer than LV. Let's be honest, LV is for poor people who want to look rich.”

What did you do to this person to get this much shade thrown at you?

But you aren’t the only one.

The post continues:
“And during this CB, her bf always orders food from more popular restaurants like Crystal Jade and Paradise Dynasty for her. But my bf only orders food from cheap restaurants like Swensen's and Ichiban for me.”
Never thought you’d ever be lumped together with Swensen’s and Ichiban, did you?

And the boyfriend comparison doesn’t end there.

The post continues:
“Her bf even gives her $1,000 a month for her own spending. But my bf only gives me $500 a month. I hate to admit but I really feel very jealous of my sister because her bf is willing to spend money on her despite earning just $4k a month. My bf earns at least $5k and yet he is so stingy with me.”
So the sister gets a quarter of her boyfriend’s salary while our anti-LV person gets only one tenth of her boyfriend’s salary. Yes, I would be jealous too.

The post concludes:
“Sometimes I really feel like a loser... why my sister can find such a good bf but I just cannot. Just because she is taller and slimmer, she can find a good bf.. it's so unfair. Sorry for the long rant.”
Poor shorter, fatter sibling.

And it was all triggered by a $700 wallet from you.

The post has nearly 4,000 shares on Facebook and is the topic on at least two online forums.

There’s no way to verify the post.

Some have dismissed it as being written by a “troll”, meaning someone who just wanted to provoke a reaction.

In that regard – whether the post is fake news or not – it succeeded.

I’m writing to Swensen’s and Ichiban next to get their reaction.

Are you turning in your grave right now?

If only Louis Vuitton had the power to Pofma someone.

- Published in The New Paper, 1 June 2020